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Thread: Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

  1. #71

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    Re: Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

    Higher contrast or overall "higher" lens performance?

    Don't be fooled by lenses with higher contrast -vs- actual higher optical performance. There are a HUGE number of other factors (film flatness, camera alignment, lighting, film type, film exposure and...) far beyond optical performance of any lens affecting the perception print quality. Resolution is just one of many, many, many other more important aspect of any expressive print.

    Of this collection of modern lenses from 90mm to 125mm (90mm f4.5 Grandagon, 105mm f8 swd Fujinon, 110mm f5.6 schneider SSXL, 115mm f6.8 Grandagon, 120mm f8 Super Angulon, 125mm f8 swd Fujinon), none of them are clearly better than one or another, they ALL have pluses and negatives. All are absolutely capable of creating extraordinary quality prints.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Film exposure aperture will become another factor given the projection enlargements of prints. View camera lens performance tends to start out ok or more than acceptable at full aperture then reach peak lens performance at some range of lens apertures then falling off as the lens aperture grows smaller due to diffraction. Keep in mind, stopping the lens aperture down to gain the perception of what is in focus is just that "perception of what is in focus", as they are not on the actual plane of focus and could never be in true focus. Exception being when all objects imaged by the lens is at true infinity focus.

    Point being, focus on expressive print making and lessen much the obsession over fantasy of "THE" lens.

    If you're making projection enlargement prints up to 40"x50" or 10X from a 4x5 sheet of film, seriously consider going up in film format size as that can make more difference in print quality overall than the fantasy uber best lens. But, know there is a limit to going up film format size as larger film alone is not automatically better as there area host of problems gained with going up in film format size.

    Know what Fotographers often so myopically focus on can be of zero value to their intended audience, projection of values that their audience might place little of any value on.


    Bernice



    Quote Originally Posted by manfrominternet View Post

    That said, I was considering the 120mm Super Symmar HM f/5.6 or the 110mm Super Symmar XL f/5.6 (both of which can be used with the Shen Hao 6x17 roll film extension back) to replace my 90mm Sinar Sinaron W and the 240mm Fujinon A F/9 to replace my 210mm Schneider Symmar-S. If there are better options, I'd love to hear them. If it helps with any suggestions, I shoot almost exclusively with color transparency and color negative and print up to 50"x60".

    Any advice from you experienced shooters would be much appreciated.

  2. #72

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    Re: Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernice Loui View Post
    If you're making projection enlargement prints up to 40"x50" or 10X from a 4x5 sheet of film, seriously consider going up in film format size as that can make more difference in print quality overall than the fantasy uber best lens. But, know there is a limit to going up film format size as larger film alone is not automatically better as there area host of problems gained with going up in film format size.

    Bernice
    Bernice,

    Thank you for this. I think you're right - I was, indeed, thinking (and hoping) that an uber 4x5 lens would be good enough to compete against a 8x10 camera with a so-so lens. (Of course I know a 4x5 wouldn't be as good even with said uber lens, but I did think that it would be good enough.) In any case, the size of the prints that I'm making with the resolution that I'd like will eventually necessitate the need for a larger format camera. While I'm pretty well versed in the 4x5 world, I'm not at all in the 8x10 world. I'm not even sure which type or brand of 8x10 field cameras I should be looking at. I do know that I'd like for it to be light, accept Technika boards, and either has a Fresnel or the ability to install one. As a landscape photographer, I'm not using very crazy movements.

    That said, do you (or anyone else here) have any suggestions for a light 8x10 camera? I was thinking of the Intrepid 8x10 Mark II, but I've read about users' concerns that it's actually too light a camera and almost acts like a sail on even a slightly windy day.

    Many thanks again!

  3. #73
    Angus Parker angusparker's Avatar
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    Re: Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

    Quote Originally Posted by manfrominternet View Post
    Bernice,

    Thank you for this. I think you're right - I was, indeed, thinking (and hoping) that an uber 4x5 lens would be good enough to compete against a 8x10 camera with a so-so lens. (Of course I know a 4x5 wouldn't be as good even with said uber lens, but I did think that it would be good enough.) In any case, the size of the prints that I'm making with the resolution that I'd like will eventually necessitate the need for a larger format camera. While I'm pretty well versed in the 4x5 world, I'm not at all in the 8x10 world. I'm not even sure which type or brand of 8x10 field cameras I should be looking at. I do know that I'd like for it to be light, accept Technika boards, and either has a Fresnel or the ability to install one. As a landscape photographer, I'm not using very crazy movements.

    That said, do you (or anyone else here) have any suggestions for a light 8x10 camera? I was thinking of the Intrepid 8x10 Mark II, but I've read about users' concerns that it's actually too light a camera and almost acts like a sail on even a slightly windy day.

    Many thanks again!
    Not sure that an 8x10 is going to give you much of a boost in resolution over 4x5. The problem with 8x10 is film plane flatness. Not to forget the extra cost of film, lenses, camera, and the weight of holders….. finally 8x10 enlargers are rare versus 4x5 and usually huge. My general feeling now is 4x5 is the sweet spot for optical enlarging and for scanning. However, if you want to simplify then 8x10 and ULF is for contact printing.

    Your lens kit is outstanding. You are not limited by your equipment! Experiment with improving your output with what you have. My suggestion is spend money on a better developer like XTOL (finer grain, increased speed) and perhaps use Tri-X 320 which will give you a stop over slower cheaper films.

  4. #74

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    Re: Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

    Angus,

    Thanks for your message. To put things in some perspective and corroborating what you've mentioned, I did a little hunting and noticed that Jeff Wall still shoots with his 4x5 Linhof Master Technika and Sinar X and still manages to blow up his 4x5 images wayyy more than 10X (40"x50") without any stitching. In the following short documentary you can see him using his Sinar X: https://art21.org/watch/art-in-the-t...ouver-segment/ He seems to have no trouble scanning and printing these negatives either as enormous prints or lightboxes.

    Also, I know first hand that Andreas Gursky mainly used a Linhof Master Technika and Technikardan 45S for most of his work through the 90s, right through to 2008, even more so than his 5x7 camera. (And, contrary to popular belief, he never used an 8x10 for the simple fact that he found enough quality with his 4x5 and 5x7 cameras.) One of his most important works is Salerno (https://www.andreasgursky.com/en/works/1990/salerno-1), which has an image size of exactly 51" x 65¼". He said in a inteview with Jeff Wall - ironically enough - that he managed to take exactly four shots of the Italian port city of Salerno with his 4x5 camera before the encroaching shadows at the borders of the image ruined the photo. This work was created in 1990 and there was definitely no stitching going on. Stitching and digital editing came later for Gursky, starting around 1992.

    And thank you for mentioning XTOL! I had no idea what that was until you mentioned it. I googled it and saw that it could be tremendously helpful. Developing and printing are the two areas that I have absolutely no mastery of. As much as I would really like to, I don't even develop my own film since my living quarters is pretty cramped. (I have 4 roommates!) Once I'm able to get a place of my own is when I'll throw myself fully into film development and learn everything I can about it.

  5. #75

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    Re: Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

    You've already have some of the best modern lenses made for 4x5. IMO, the lenses are not the limitation to producing excellent-expressive images, it is much about getting out there and making images. Technique, skills, creative passions will go greatly further than any small incremental improvement in the hardware stuff that might offer. While there is an image quality gained in larger film format size, it depends on the images made and the image goals. 8x10 results in a much larger camera, difficulty and $ for truly good lenses, film flatness, what is in or out of focus issues and more. 5x7 is the 'tweener size, which has many of the benefits of 8x10 and 4x5. Again, 5x7 has inherent limitations and does not work for all image making. Same applies to 35mm to 8x10 and larger. In the end, these are mere tools to achieve a means ad method of creative images.


    Bernice

  6. #76

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    Re: Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

    Bernice, I fully agree with you. Lenses can only be part of the equation. I'd be one of the first to argue that a phenomenal lens will in no way, shape, or form make you a great photographer or, indeed, take great photographs for you. Although the options afforded by a very sharp lens are great, I have noticed that some of my favorite work of my own was done with a lens that is not the best. In many cases I have works that I shot that are purposfully blurry. I'm not necessarily wanting every photo I take to be razor sharp.

    Nonetheless, I am interested in larger high-res prints. A 5x7 would be an ideal camera for the reason you've mentioned, but alas, no one out there makes color negative or slide film for that format anymore. (I shoot color slide and color negative exclusively.)

    That said, I recently also bought a Fuji 240mm f/9 A for my lens set, in anticipation that I may someday use this lens (as well as my Nikon Nikkor 300mm f/9 M) for an 8x10. I do like all of my lenses, but I have noticed that, in comparison to my new 150mm Rodenstock Sironar-S, my 150mm Schneider Symmar-S is actually a rather weak performer. The softness and vignetting I get from using the 150mm Schneider Symmar-S on my 6x17 Shen Hao extension back was enough to make me want to upgrade. The Symmar-S is no slouch, but after testing it against the Sironar-S, there really is no comparison - the Sironar-S is a lot sharper with a much more pleasing contrast, and the larger image circle comes in very handy when using it with my 6x17 back.

    What I'm really after now is a lens that I can use for my 6x17 Shen Hao extension back. With said extension back, the 90mm Sinar Sinaron W f/6.8 is too wide for my taste and my new 150 Rodenstock Sironar-S crops in too much, so I'm looking for something in between 110mm and 135mm, but I'm not sure where to start given that the options are so vast.

  7. #77
    multi format
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    Re: Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sawyer View Post
    The lenses that will make the photographs you want to make are the one's worth keeping.

    I always figure if I sell a lens I'm not interested in using, the lens needed to upgrade to a better owner.

    It all becomes so clear after a couple of tangerine martinis.

    +1
    enjoy your coffee

  8. #78
    Angus Parker angusparker's Avatar
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    Re: Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

    Quote Originally Posted by manfrominternet View Post
    Angus,

    Thanks for your message. To put things in some perspective and corroborating what you've mentioned, I did a little hunting and noticed that Jeff Wall still shoots with his 4x5 Linhof Master Technika and Sinar X and still manages to blow up his 4x5 images wayyy more than 10X (40"x50") without any stitching. In the following short documentary you can see him using his Sinar X: https://art21.org/watch/art-in-the-t...ouver-segment/ He seems to have no trouble scanning and printing these negatives either as enormous prints or lightboxes.

    Also, I know first hand that Andreas Gursky mainly used a Linhof Master Technika and Technikardan 45S for most of his work through the 90s, right through to 2008, even more so than his 5x7 camera. (And, contrary to popular belief, he never used an 8x10 for the simple fact that he found enough quality with his 4x5 and 5x7 cameras.) One of his most important works is Salerno (https://www.andreasgursky.com/en/works/1990/salerno-1), which has an image size of exactly 51" x 65¼". He said in a inteview with Jeff Wall - ironically enough - that he managed to take exactly four shots of the Italian port city of Salerno with his 4x5 camera before the encroaching shadows at the borders of the image ruined the photo. This work was created in 1990 and there was definitely no stitching going on. Stitching and digital editing came later for Gursky, starting around 1992.

    And thank you for mentioning XTOL! I had no idea what that was until you mentioned it. I googled it and saw that it could be tremendously helpful. Developing and printing are the two areas that I have absolutely no mastery of. As much as I would really like to, I don't even develop my own film since my living quarters is pretty cramped. (I have 4 roommates!) Once I'm able to get a place of my own is when I'll throw myself fully into film development and learn everything I can about it.
    You are welcome. Printing (and developing) are great pastimes. Right now I’m taking images of a fishing stream I love and am dreaming on the large silver prints I’m going to make.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro

  9. #79

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    Re: Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

    Thanks for the link. I know it's outside the main topic of this thread, but Jeff Walls' methodology yields great photos.
    Garry Madlung
    Veteran of many tours of the Canadian Rockies

  10. #80

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    Re: Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

    Quote Originally Posted by manfrominternet View Post
    A 5x7 would be an ideal camera for the reason you've mentioned, but alas, no one out there makes color negative or slide film for that format anymore. (I shoot color slide and color negative exclusively.)
    In the U.S. Kodak ships Portra 160 and 400, Ektar 100 and Ektachrome 100 in 5x7 through group orders via Keith Canham. In my experience he has been easy to reach on the phone if you would like more info.

    https://www.canhamcameras.com/kodakfilm.html
    https://www.facebook.com/K-B-Canham-...1324393576850/

    I have a bunch of 5x7 color film in the fridge and freezer right now. I'm also a predominantly color shooter and migrated to 5x7 after my 8x10 kit had become too ponderous for field use. A group order usually occurs once each year per emulsion (Ektar less frequently, I'm not sure how popular the new Ektachrome has been). Managing film stock like this is a bit of a hassle, but it is very do-able. My back thanks me when I am out in the field.

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